Dr. Desai's laboratory is interested in understanding how alveolar epithelial type (AT) 1 and AT 2 cells are generated during lung development and replaced in adult life during aging and following injury. They use mouse genetic tools to specifically mark and fate-map AT 1 and AT 2 cells, in order to understand their differentiative potential and the lineage hierarchies that operate during alveolar epithelial turnover. By genetically deleting or mis-expressing transcription factors and other genes in AT 1 and AT 2 cells, they are also seeking to elucidate the specific role each gene plays in these cells and indirectly in the lung overall. They are interested not only in the role for AT 1 and AT 2 cells in health, but in exploring how their depletion or dysregulation may contribute to specific diseases, such as adenocarcinoma, emphysema, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, and fibrotic diseases of the lung.
Bio-X Affiliated Faculty